In the novel, The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, a missionary family travel to the African Congo during the 1960’s, in hopes of bringing enlightenment to the Congolese in terms of religion. The father, Nathan, believes wholeheartedly in his commitment, and this is ultimately his downfall when he fails to realize the damage that he is placing upon his family and onto the people living in Kilanga, and refuses to change the way he sees things. However, his wife, Orleanna, and her daughters, Rachel, Leah, Adah, and Ruth May, take the Congo in, and make the necessary changes in their lives, and they do this in order to survive with their new darkness that they are living in. Curiosity and acceptance help the ones with curious minds,
In Barbara Kingsolver’s work, The Poisonwood Bible, Nathan Price is a character which responds to injustice in some significant way. Out of all the other characters, Nathan is the one who responds the most to an act of injustice by going on a campaign halfway around the world to somehow repay his obligation to God. He plans to do this by spreading Christianity, or at least his version of Christianity, to the native people of the Congo. The whole reason for him doing this is that he believes being wounded and leaving battle right before the rest of his company dies is an act of injustice and feels as if though he should have died there with his men. Nathan feels like he is a failure and is guilty for not dying with his brothers on the battlefield.
When people started converting to Christianity the Africans realized that “none of them [were men] of title” (Achebe 119). The Igbo people put men of achievement on a societal pedestal and give them respect only because of their accomplishments, which also means that there are outcasts. The people that have not achieved much are looked down upon in society and are seen as subordinate. Another example of Christianity’s acceptance is how they “educated their converts” (Source C). In the novel, Christianity’s customs contrasts to the Igbo in that the Christians accept individuals as they are and not by what they have accomplished.
You take Yong Goodman Brown, a man living in an area and time where it is deeply rooted in their Christian beliefs. Then you have Phillis Wheatley who is an African slave who is writing to privileged white men in Cambridge. Both are planted firmly in their Christian faith and the difference is one of them is a slave, and the other one is a free man with a wife and family. Yet, after reading Young Goodman Brown, it seems that only one of them
Barbara Kingsolver does a wonderful job with incorporating literary devices into her novel. These literary devices help the reader to experience the words written on the page and it allows the reader to think that they are actually living the story. One major literary device that Kingsolver uses throughout the book to show her ideas to the reader is imagery. “Her dark hair is tied in a ragged lace handkerchief, and her curved jawbone is lit with large, false-pearl earrings, as if these headlamps from another world might show the way.” (pg 5) When I hear these words, I am able to paint a picture inside of my head of Orleana Price. I am able to imagine what she looks like and this imagery provides the reader with direct characterization of
Throughout his narrative, Douglass’s descriptions of the white slaveholders expose the Christian hypocrisy found in the American slave system. Douglass first does so by exposing how the lesson taught by Christians to help those in need is contradicted by the experiences Douglass has especially with hunger. Douglass reflects on these experiences when he states that for the “first time during a space of more than seven years” feeling the effects of the “painful gnawing’s of hunger…” (54). This event shows the Christians’ lessons of selflessness and kindness is hypocritical as they treat their fellow humans as subhuman. The Christians at the time rely on scripture to make a case for slavery in America.
Orleanna Price and her husband, Nathan Price, live in a comfy home with their four children. As a devout Christian’s wife, Mrs. Price attends church every Sunday. Mr. Price receives an offer to spread the teachings of the Christian faith as a missionary in the small village of Kilanga in the Belgian Congo. This is not the happiest of news to Orleanna and her daughters for the reason that they must attend the journey as well. Now in the Congo, Orleanna is not the same person as before.
Douglass is relentless when attacking the church, he states, “The American Church is Guilty” (Douglass 1039). This has a slightly taste of irony, because here Douglass, a colored man, is calling out the most “sacred” body of people. It almost as if he was the master and they were the slave now. Next, the main theme expressed by
Allen Dwight Callahan’s The Talking Book: African Americans and the Bible connects biblical stories and images to the politics, music and, religion, the book shows how important the Bible is to black culture. African Americans first came to know the Bible because of slavery and at that time the religious groups would read it to them instead of teaching them by letting them encounter it for themselves. Later the Bibles stories became the source of spirituals and songs, and after the Civil War motivation for learning to read. Allen Callahan traces the Bible culture that developed during and following enslavement. He identifies the most important biblical images for African Americans, Exile, Exodus, Ethiopia, and Emmanuel and discusses their recurrence and the relationship they have with African Americans and African American culture.
The Poisonwood Bible explores multiple different meanings ranging from love and loyalty, to ignorance and political oppression. While it is a story of the journey of the Price family in the Congo, Kingsolver uses these narratives to draw a bigger picture of the geopolitics that are at play in the Congo. I think the overarching theme of the novel is ignorance and its opposite: empathy. We follow the journeys of ignorant characters such as Rachel and Nathan Price and are given a parallel with the journeys of Adah, Leah, and Orleanna. However Kingsolver showcases the realities of life here or beyond by the end of the novel where it is clear that none of the characters we met at the beginning would end up with lives that fulfilled all their dreams
Ultimately, the human heart seeks comfort and familiarity. The great unknown strips away this feeling of safety, leading to a vulnerability that draws the true nature of a person into the harshness of reality. Unfamiliar environments, newly met strangers, the imminent and all-too-unpredictable future--these things generally incite feelings of insecurity and anxiety; for some, panic accompanies the thought of not having control. Some avoid matters of fear altogether, opting for a life softened with intentional ignorance. It is the fatal tendency of mankind to manipulate their troubles into trivial tasks that can easily be ignored and eventually forgotten, or at the very least, left to the side. Humanity thrives on acknowledging, promoting, and
2. Water in the Old Testament In the Old Testament, we see water rightly at the creation story. The first mention of water is found in Genesis, where it is said: “the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the water”. Furthermore, in Genesis, it says: “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures”.
Pain, both physical and mental, affects every character in The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. However, the biggest loss, which is that of the Price family’s youngest child, Ruth May’s, life also brings about some positive effects as well. Here, similarly to in Twelfth Night, a person is sacrificed for the greater good. Naturally, it may be more difficult to imagine the benefit of Ruth May’s sacrifice than to imagine the benefits of Viola’s, but if given adequate thought, it becomes clear that the death of Ruth May helps the other women in the Price family to realize Nathan Price’s destructive ways. Kingsolver first exposes Leah Price’s newfound argumentative and bold personality, and her opposition towards her father in the following exchange, “”She wasn’t baptized yet,” he said.
On of the greatest examples of imagery that Alice Walker uses is the one that compares light and darkness. At the beguining of the story the author mentions delicate and calm setting of a farm. In creating this imagery the reader is able to understand that all the positive and upbeat words are associated with the farm setting. Myop’s light-hearted innocence is also shown when “watching the tiny white bubbles disrupt the thin black scale”. The effective description provides credibility to the environment, and makes the later events all the more shocking,